Friday, January 04, 2008

Between the lines

I was brought to this by a climatically optimistic post that inspired the inevitable pointless fisking exchanges thereafter. However, my attention was focused more on what happened after the headline: 2007 to be 'warmest on record'

That would be the line of copy you get to, having first read a rather different message via some rather odd new journalistic 'weren't me guv' technique of sticking something in apostrophes by way of shirking any responsibility for journalistic accuracy or editorial objectivity.

So we then get...'The world is likely to experience the warmest year on record in 2007, the UK's Met Office says.'

I really would wish our national broadcaster would stop shooting itself in the foot like this and handing such distractions to those who would have us debate the detail endlessly at the expense of the bigger picture.

Personally I could care less if 2007 is or isn't the warmest year (OK, it does matter statistically as part of a trend), but I sure don't see it helping the cause of encouraging restraint and mitigation of our race's possible impact on climate, to try and crank out scare stories that may end up looking plain daft by being not, as such, true.

Just give us the facts as they are known, guys. At this rate I half expect to soon see that 'No 10 is expected to say that the PM is considering supporting this claim' by way of a front page that says nothing by tries to convey much.


2007 'second warmest year' in UK - see above


Dave said...

What I can't understand is why is takes so long to aggregate the data. 2006 data published in Dec 2007, so the 2007 data will be with us in Dec 2008?

The met office has dynamic data on mean high and low temperatures from literally hundreds of weather stations all over the UK - it surely shouldn't take some 11 months to work out a few sums and averages.

Peter said...

But there is also what gets done with such data.

Especially by those who, for whatever reason, seem unable to resist bending whatever they can get to fit some immediate agenda at the expense of a more rational long term result.

I think you posted a Spectator article recently that was erring on 'debunk mode'.

I have just seen another which has pretty much pounced on the Met office and the BBC's reporting of same to hold their stances up for ridicule based on... global warming and the fact that we're now in a cold snap!

No matter that climate change can be up in some places as well as down on others, or that overall the trend is not looking helpful.

By such sloppiness a rather whopping diversion has been handed those who even I would suggest are taking 'cimate optimism' to a rather extreme degree.

I'll try and dig it out and post it using your funk HTML code here.

Dave said...

Isn't it strange that with the data for 2007 actually in, they cannot come up with anything stronger than "likely to experience the warmest year on record"; yet, whilst talking about 2008, they can predict that "2008 will be slightly cooler than recent years globally but will still be among the top 10 warmest years on record since 1850".

Peter said...

There are a few words I could think of... but while strange may be in there it sure ain't near the top!!!

It sure doesn't make our job of persuading an undecided middle ground any easier when all they will be aware of is 'tis/t'isn't's and cross accusations of dodgy data.